Not the lamest stop
An army of mini Tyler, the Creators flowed into the sold-out Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt show at Ace of Spaces on May 17, and the excitement in the building was palpable. Skinny suburban kids sported baseball hats and shirts with kittens on them—with the boys outnumbering the girls by at least 8-to-1.
Before the first beat ever played, the crowd jostled and pushed up against the barrier at the front by the stage. Security then flipped on the lights, and the alpha security guard entreated the surging mass to yield a few feet so they could move the barrier back. He singled out a particular dude, commanding, “Yo, big dawg, four eyes, back the fuck up!” to a collective, “Dayum!!” from the crowd.
Eventually, security walked back the barrier and the crush resumed. A couple girls were pulled out by security right away. I've probably been to 700 shows in my life, and the level of adoration at early ’90s-era Morrissey performances is the closest it compares to.
Finally, Taco, a loosely affiliated member of the Odd Future gang, started to circle around the stage and deejay some songs. Taco looks exactly like a wacky sitcom character from the '90s, complete with cheesy mustache. The kids went crazy and sang along to all the songs—tracks by M.I.A. and that meathead Chief Keef got them the most riled up.
Then, Taco did a backflip stage dive and promptly started punching someone in the crowd for an unknown reason. At that point, it seemed like the headlining portion of the show might be canceled before it even started, but luckily, everyone chilled out.
Finally, Tyler and Earl came out, and the crowd roared. I'm used to phoned-in rap performances; often the preshow deejaying is the most hyphy part. Not so here. They played for a sweat-soaked two hours. In between hits such as “Yonkers,” Tyler displayed his easy wit: This guy was made to be on TV—somebody give him his own talk show, please.
He revealed that he once attended Elk Grove High School for two weeks, and “They didn't like me there.” He also praised the show's multicultural makeup and said he loves playing small venues such as Ace of Spades.
I'm used to Sac being considered the lamest stop on any band's tour, so hearing that was music to my ears.
Unfortunately, the actual music sounded muddy with uncreative and monotonous beats. I've listened to Tyler's new album Wolf quite a few times, and not a single song stands out. Obviously, I was in the minority at this show. The kids sang along to every word.
The most incredible part of the show, which I watched from the balcony (Tyler accurately called out balcony peeps as “old”), occurred when Tyler told the crowd to make a circle in the middle, presumably for moshing. They complied, and he told them to keep widening it until he was satisfied. Tyler then launched into “Sandwitches,” and it became uncomfortable for the audiencew as the circle stayed empty. When the chorus kicked in, however, the crowd absolutely flooded the circle in unison, as if they had practiced for it.
At that moment, I felt that if Tyler had looked up at me in the balcony and directed this mass to kill me, they would've probably done it without hesitation. That's power. I still don't like his music, but it was an exhilarating show, and I don't think he's going to be playing many venues this small in the future.